When a person is charged with a sexual offense, it feels like the end of the world. They are overcome with feelings of shame and despair. They feel they have let their families and everyone down.
Society holds sex offenses to be the most reprehensible of all criminal types. The news reverberates through the community, affecting relationships, employment and school.
Our advice to you if you are in this situation: Pull yourself together. It may feel like the end of the world, but it doesn’t have to be. Good defense can still clear your name, or minimize the harm done to you and your reputation.
The most successful approaches include:
‘ I didn’t do it ’
False claims are often made against individuals. Victims get confused, and accuse the wrong person. Or it may have been impossible to commit a crime because you were nowhere near this person when the act occurred. Remember that you are innocent until the prosecution shows that you are guilty. A good defense lawyer makes that difficult, maintains the possibility of “reasonable doubt.”
‘ It was something we agreed to do ’
This is the defense by consent, and consent can be a difficult element to prove. But elements of consent are present in many interactions. If the victim participates willingly in the act, it may not be a crime at all.
The burden in Florida, where rape is called sexual battery, is upon the prosecution to prove that there was no consent on the part of the victim. This can be a difficult thing to prove. People often send one another conflicting signals, short of physical resistance. Many interactions that are really misreading or misunderstandings result in charges being filed.
‘ I didn’t know what I was doing ’
This is the insanity or mental incapacity defense. This defense requires more than just saying “I went crazy.” Your lawyer must show that you were not capable of understanding what you actions meant. You have to actually be mentally incapacitated. It is not an easy defense but in some cases it is the truth.
Within each of these three defenses there are many variations, depending on the circumstances of your case. The bottom line is, being arrested is not the same as being convicted. The law exists to protect you from injustice, the same as it protects the person accusing you.
An effective attorney will assess your situation and do what has the greatest potential to spare you the harshest effects of conviction.